Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts16,11-15; Resp. Psalm: Ps149,1-6,9; Gosp. Accl.: Jn15,26-27; Gospel: Jn15,26-16,4
There are different dimensions of work in the vineyard of God. There are different roles and functions that people are called to. What is important is the heart and soul we put into God's work. What is important is the commitment, zeal and passion we show. What is required is the love that fills our hearts as we work for the Lord, as we make His presence known, as we spread the good news of salvation He has entrusted to us.
In the early Church, people of different races, cultures, backgrounds, social status were brought to faith in the Lord Jesus. These brought into the Church, their talents endowments, earthly possessions, entire lives, into the work of evangelization. Nothing was considered too great. Nothing too little to commit to the work. There was a generousity and willingness to give and sacrifice that still continues to inspire and challenge us today.
The word was live. The word was power. The word convicted. The word approved. The word changed the direction of people's lives. The word brought them new perspectives, new visions, new directions. The word brought them new life. Such was the encounter of Lydia who was encountered in Philippi by Paul and his companions. They preached the word to this woman and her companions.
The word today teaches us that the Lord opened Lydia's heart to listen to the word of God, was baptized with her entire household, and she thereafter became the provider for the needs of Paul and his companions. The Apostle's dedication to the work of the Lord did not go unrequited. Salvation was given to Lydia. In appreciation, she put herself at the service of the Apostle and his companions.
The Apostles were able to achieve great deeds in the name of the Lord because of their constant touch with the Holy Spirit. The Counsellor bore witness to the Lord Jesus. So also were the Apostles. They became witnesses to what they saw, heard and experienced. The Counsellor strengthened them in the period of persecution and hatred of the faith.
Our Lord predicted today that discipleship would not be a child's play. He predicted in grim terms: "They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them."
In spite of these grim predictions, the disciple still has the responsibility to carry on the mission of the Master till the end. The disciple is called to commit all into the project of winning souls for Christ. The disciple is called to a generous gift of self and endowments, talents, resources into the work. May the Risen Lord grant us His power to do this.
Let us pray: "Grant, O merciful God, that we may experience at all times the fruit produced by the paschal observances." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.